When it comes to investing you money, you have a lot of options. Back when I first started to invest, discount brokers were just coming onto the scene. But the term “discount” was overrated. The fees to trade stock were still around $25 per share. But thanks to technology and competition, investing has become affordable. One such example of this is with TradeKing.
In this TradeKing review, you will learn what makes TradeKing great. You will also find out if this broker makes sense for you. And if so, how to get started investing with TradeKing. By the end of this post you will see why TradeKing should be on your shortlist of online brokers. (Note: right now, you can get $1,000 in free trades when you open an account!)
My TradeKing Review
TradeKing Background & History
TradeKing is one of the top names in the online broker world. It has been this way since the beginning.
TradeKing was founded in 2005 as an alternative to the other online brokers. At the time, many other brokers were (and still are) charging more for trades than Tradeking. Today, TradeKing sets itself apart from other brokers. They put the customer first and provide a lot of free tools and services that other brokers don’t.
In 2012, TradeKing merged with Zecco to expand on the products it offered.
In 2015 TradeKing bought MB Trading. This buy helped TradeKing to improve its trading platform for investors. It also allowed TradeKing to offer futures trading to investors.
Then in April of 2016, Ally Bank bought TradeKing. Since I use and love Ally Bank, I am excited to see what they have in store for TradeKing.
On to the features that makes TradeKing a great choice for investors. I’ll highlight these in bullet points and then go into more detail further down below.
- $4.95 online trades for stocks priced $2 and more. This includes market and limit orders. Note that is fee isn’t a flat fee. I’ll talk about this more below.
- Guarantee your trade. TradeKing actually guarantees that your order will is filled at the National Best Bid of Offer. You don’t have to worry about paying too much! And you won’t get this guarantee with any other online broker either.
- Streaming quotes are free for investors. Once you make your first trade, you can call TradeKing to activate the free streaming quotes feature in your account. Again, many other brokers require you to trade a minimum amount of times before you get access to free streaming quotes. But not TradeKing. They offer it right out of the gate.
- Tons of investment options for investors. Choose from stocks, bonds, exchange traded funds, mutual funds, futures and options. You can invest in non-retirement, retirement and educational accounts as well. (Be sure to track any management fees you pay by using this free service.)
- Forex trading for people interested in trading currency. What’s cool about this is that they give you a $50,000 mock forex account to learn how forex trading works before you ever trade. This is important if you have never traded forex before. You can read about my experience with forex trading here.
TradeKing has positioned itself well in the online broker market. It is a place that traders should consider when looking into investing their money.
Here are the features of TradeKing that I like most.
Zero account opening fee. There is no minimum to open an account with TradeKing. This is a great feature for investors who don’t have the money needed to invest with a firm like Vanguard.
With TradeKing, you can buy a couple shares of stock and take your time adding to your position.
Amazing Customer Service. You can email, call or chat if you have any questions. TradeKing has won awards for its great customer service. This just shows you they follow their mission to put the customer first.
In fact, they have a goal for email response time. During business hours, they will respond in 2 hours for emails. For emails received over the weekend, they will respond in 24 hours. This is great to know. I hate emailing and wondering when the company will ever get back to me.
Lots of Education: TradeKing has free classes and seminars to learn more about investing. They also have a forum where you can talk and discuss things with other investors that are part of TradeKing.
Trading Platform: TradeKing’s trading platform, called TradeKing LIVE, offers real time streaming quotes. Super fast trade executions and a customizable dashboard are also standard. It is also browser based, so you can access it anywhere you have an internet connection.
The trading platform even works on your mobile device through TradeKing’s mobile app.
What I love about it though is the customizable dashboard. I hate when I cannot make changes. There are certain things I want to see and I want to get rid of the rest of “the noise”. TradeKing lets me do this.
Tax Analysis: Taxes stink. But TradeKing makes things a breeze. And you can even learn something. This is because TradeKing uses Maxit Tax Manager. This free service gives you analysis and easy to understand tax reporting in real time. It even suggests trades for you to place that will help you to reduce your tax liability.
But it doesn’t stop there. With TradeKing, you don’t have to wait for your 1099 in the mail. You don’t even have to send it to your accountant. You give your accountant access to your 1099 online and they can download it when they need it.
Charting and Technical Analysis: If you are an active trader, TradeKing should be high on your list of brokers to consider.
This is because TradeKing offers a suite of tools that exceed expectations for a discount broker. For example, they offer calculators for options traders to help assess the profit or loss potential of trades.
They offer an online trader network where you can get insights and ideas from other traders. It is like a private social media network for stock traders. Share trading notes, strategies and anything else your heart desires. It is a community built for you.
TradeKing also offers reports from 3rd party sources like Standard & Poor’s. And TradeKing analyzes the reports for you! Traders can find useful information like price projections, chart pattern recognition, and more.
They even offer free educational material to help beginners just starting out trading. This helps to better understand how the market works. They even offer investing tips to increase success.
Downsides To TradeKing
There are a few downsides to TradeKing to list. Here they are in no particular order:
- Zero No-Fee ETFs and Mutual Funds: TradeKing currently does not offer any ETFs or mutual funds without any trading fees. This means that when you buy ETFs, you are going to pay the $4.95 trading fee. With no-load mutual funds you will be paying $9.95. Note that if you buy a load mutual fund, there is no trading fee from TradeKing. Just the typical fee the mutual fund charges you.
- Non-Uniform Trading Fees: While the $4.95 is a great price for trading, it is not a flat $4.95. If you are buying shares of stock that are under $2 per share, you pay an extra $0.01 per share. This isn’t a huge deal, but needs noting. The last thing you want is to be surprised if you are looking to place penny stock trades.
- Other Fees: I don’t like various miscellaneous fees and sadly TradeKing charges a few of them. For starters, there is an inactivity fee. Luckily, it shouldn’t apply to most investors. The fee is $50 if you don’t place a trade within a 12 month period and your account balance is under $2,500. So to pay the fee, you must not place trades in 12 months time and your account value must be under $2,500. If you have more than $2,500 invested or you place one trade a year, then they waive the fee. Additionally, there is an IRA termination fee. If you transfer your IRA to another broker, TradeKing will charge you a small fee. Luckily, most brokers you are transferring your account to will refund you this fee. So be sure to ask if they will refund you for this charge.
If TradeKing sounds like it is the right fit for your investing needs, you can open up an account here.
There is one other feature TradeKing has recently rolled out that needs to discussing. In response to the popularity of robo-advisors like Betterment, TradeKing entered into this market in late 2014. Their goal is to improve upon what Betterment does by offering more for less.
With TradeKing Advisors, you can start investing in a portfolio with as little as $5,000. Like Betterment, you will invest in low-cost ETFs. The portfolios TradeKing Advisors use are modeled by Ibottson, which is a subsidiary of Morningstar. They are based on your specific goals. The TradeKing Advisors program is free for the first year when you open a new account.
There are two portfolios you can choose from, Core and Momentum. With the Core portfolio, you invest into one of five allocations depending on your goals and risk. The allocations range from conservative to aggressive.
When it comes to fees, you pay 0.25% in management fees per year if your balance is $5,000 or higher. Less than this and you pay $1 per month. To open a Core portfolio, you need $500.
The Momentum portfolio attempts to take advantage of the swings in the stock market. Each month they rebalance the portfolio, in hopes of earning you a higher return. To open a Momentum portfolio, you need $25,000. The annual fee for this portfolio is 0.50%.
There are no extra fees for either. And like Betterment, TradeKing Advisors offers free portfolio rebalancing and dividend reinvestment as well.
Who Is TradeKing For?
So who is TradeKing for? If you are an active trader, then TradeKing is a perfect match for you. You get many free tools and features that most other online brokers don’t provide or charge extra for. Plus, you get a competitive price for trading shares of stock and ETFs.
If you are looking to join the robo-advisor revolution, TradeKing Advisors is an option. I would suggest you compare it to Betterment as well so you can see which one meets your needs best.
If you think TradeKing is your broker of choice, you can earn up to $1,000 in free trades when you open an account. At the end of the day, as an active trader, you can’t go wrong with picking TradeKing. With all the features and excellent customer service, you would be happy with them as your broker.
If you are unsure of TradeKing and you want to read more reviews or do more research, check out my online broker comparison chart. It’s an in-depth guide of the top online brokers to help you find the best fit for you.
If you have any questions, be sure to reach out to me and I’ll do my best to help you in any way I can.
[Photo Credit: FirmBee]